Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, is finally poised to take the title of the biggest equity market in the region.
Its market value of $529 billion has nearly matched that of slumping Thailand, which snatched the top spot from Singapore in May, buoyed by a strengthening baht.
With its currency giving back some gains and economic growth trailing forecasts, the SET Index is the region’s only benchmark to decline in the past three months.
In contrast, Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite Index has gained 5.5% in U.S. dollar terms during that period. President Joko Widodo is embarking on a new round of infrastructure projects and pursuing reforms to stimulate the fourth-most populous country in the world.
"There is a big opportunity in Indonesia, ” said Vincent Mortier, deputy chief investment officer at Amundi Asset Management, which manages about 1.56 trillion euros ($1.74 trillion) of assets. "It has a growth story, political landscape and valuations.” He rates Thailand underweight "because of its weak economy, ” he said.
Indonesia’s PT Bank Central Asia now ranks as the region’s biggest company by value, at about $62 billion, ahead of Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings Ltd. and Thailand’s PTT Pcl.
To be sure, the biggest Southeast Asian market ranks 21st globally, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Moreover, eight individual companies are worth more than the market of either Thailand or Indonesia, including three trillion-dollar firms: Saudi Arabian Oil Co., Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
Bloomberg calculates market capitalization using only actively traded, primary stocks on each country’s exchanges, excluding securities such as exchange-traded funds. - Bloomberg